Praise for ‘Beautiful Scars’

Our first book, “Beautiful Scars,” has received not only national media attention but accolades from renowned authors and advocates. Here’s what they’re saying about the book and the story of co-author Kilee Brookbank:

“It took me many years – decades even – to embrace my fire, my scars, my story, my gifts – the way that Kilee has naturally done in just a few short years. ‘Beautiful Scars’ is a reminder that we don’t always get to choose the path we walk in life, but we can always choose the manner in which we walk it. Kilee, a heartfelt thank you for the reminder.”

John O’Leary, national bestselling author of “ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life” and inspirational speaker

J.R. Martinez

“Kilee’s spirit shines through her every word. ‘Beautiful Scars’ is a down-to-earth primer on how to let our hearts define us, not our scars.”

J.R. Martinez, actor, U.S. Army veteran, bestselling author and burn survivor



Burns Recovered

“Kilee’s ‘Beautiful Scars’ shares her story of hope. In one single moment, a tragic accident almost took her life and put her through months of physical and emotional challenges. Despite these obstacles, Kilee’s beautiful and joyful spirit demonstrate to all that there is life and hope after serious tragedy. This book is an encouraging story for burn survivors and anyone surviving trauma.”

– Julie Peetz, executive director, Burns Recovered

Making a Difference with Shriners

Kilee at Shriners CincinnatiFor Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander, writing “Beautiful Scars” was both a journey of healing and a mission of love.

In February 2015, Kilee, then 16, was recovering from second- and third-degree burns on 45 percent of her body. Only two months after being discharged from Shriners Hospitals for Children-Cincinnati, she knew she felt a call to give back to Shriners, and she felt that a book was the best way to share her experiences while helping raise money to donate.

Lori was going through a recovery of her own. Exhausted after spending 38 days with Kilee in the hospital, she now faced the physically and emotionally draining tasks of caring for Kilee at home while rebuilding their lives after the 2014 explosion that burned Kilee also destroyed the family’s home.

“We had no idea what to expect when we were in the hospital, and after we got home, that was a completely different kind of challenge,” Lori says. “I wanted to create something that would speak to other parents who would be in my shoes someday. I wanted them to know that they can get through it.”

A portion of the proceeds from “Beautiful Scars” will benefit Cincinnati Shriners Hospitals, and the Shriners family has embraced Kilee and Lori from the beginning. After launching her book at the Cincinnati location, Kilee has been invited to visit the burn centers in Northern California, Boston and Galveston, Texas, this summer. At those locations, Kilee will interact with young patients in various stages of recovery. She’ll visit their classrooms, attend a teen discussion group and participate with them in some fun activities designed to get kids back to feeling like kids.

It’s not a traditional book tour; it’s much more meaningful than that.

“I love meeting other survivors and getting to tell them in person that there’s hope, that they can recover and feel good again,” Kilee says. “The best part of my book signings has been meeting other kids, many of them younger than I am, and being kind of an extra source of strength or support for them. I really want to make a difference in their lives.”

Kilee and her family also have started the Kilee Gives Back Foundation to benefit Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. The foundation’s celebrity golf outing will be Sept. 15.

“Shriners does amazing things, and they take care of anyone, whether they can pay or not,” Kilee says. “It makes me feel proud to be able to give back to them, and I feel honored that they’ve invited me to come to their other locations. I am so grateful for everything they’ve done and continue to do for me, my family and other survivors like me.”

Buy “Beautiful Scars” and help support Cincinnati Shriners Hospital!

‘If You Stay Positive, You Can Make It Through Anything’ (Woman’s World)

Read Kilee’s article from the June 13 2016 Issue of Woman’s World

Thank You, Shriners, for a Perfect Launch!

Kilee at Shriners Cincinnati

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati hosted a successful launch event for “Beautiful Scars” Wednesday that saw burn survivors, hospital employees, local media, Shriners members and friends from the community come out to support authors Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander.

The atrium at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital was full all evening as Kilee and Lori signed books, took photos with guests and shared their experience of hope and healing. Kilee and Lori also donated 50 books for patients and their families.

“It was great to have so many people come out to support the book, but the best part was meeting other burn survivors and being able to hear their stories and encourage them as they continue recovery,” Kilee said. “We’re so grateful to Shriners for hosting us. They’re an amazing group of people: the nurses, the doctors, the administrators. Everyone goes the extra mile.”

Kilee Signing at Shriners CincinnatiKiCam would like to extend particular gratitude to the Shriners team that organized the event and is setting up “Beautiful Scars” signings this summer at the Shriners hospitals in Boston and Galveston, Texas.

A portion of the proceeds of “Beautiful Scars” will benefit Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, and the Kilee Gives Back Foundation, which also supports Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, is finalizing plans for its second annual celebrity golf outing later this year.

“As soon as Kilee came to Shriners and we saw the incredible care she was receiving, we knew we wanted to give back,” Lori said. “This book is one step in our journey of supporting Shriners for the rest of our lives, and we hope other patients and their families find it meaningful and helpful as they go through their challenges.”